News & Press

Spanish at Lesley Ellis School: Cognitive Benefits and Cultural Connections

by Deanne Benson

Head of School

 

Learning another language has always been a high priority at Lesley Ellis, with students beginning that process in preschool. Research bears out the many cognitive benefits of learning languages. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, an ability to multitask and better listening skills.

 

Language is also the most direct connection to other cultures. Being able to communicate in another language exposes us to and fosters an appreciation for the traditions, religions, arts, and history of the people associated with that language. Greater understanding, in turn, promotes greater tolerance, empathy, and acceptance of others – with studies showing that children who have studied another language are more open toward and express more positive attitudes toward the culture associated with that language. (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages)

 

Learning Spanish at Lesley Ellis not only has many cognitive benefits, but also prepares our students “to make their world a better place.” (LES Vision Statement)

 

The following examples (taken from recent class newsletters) are typical activities in our Spanish classes.

 

  • Preschoolers read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? in Spanish.
  • Grade 3/4 students, as part of a unit on house vocabulary, learned verb conjugations in order to say sentences like, “I cook in the kitchen” and “I read in the living room.”
  • One Grade 8 Spanish class read an opinion article from an Argentinean newspaper featuring the recent college admission scandal and were able to understand, retell and discuss the article.
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